Qantas has added flights between Melbourne and Tasmania in a boost to hotels across the apple isle.
From October 29, Qantas will add more than 1700 seats per week, including an extra flight daily between Melbourne and Hobart and an extra 11 flights per week between Melbourne and Launceston.
At the same time, Melbourne to Devonport services will also be upgraded from a Q300 to the larger Q400 aircraft.
“Alongside the twice daily Boeing 737 services operating between Melbourne and Hobart, we are looking forward to increasing frequency on the route with the introduction of our Q400 aircraft,” said Qantas’ Domestic Chief Executive Officer, Lyell Strambi.
“From October, we will increase services between Melbourne and Hobart from twice daily to three times per day, providing our customers with seamless connections to and from Hobart.
“In the next few months Hobart, Launceston and Devonport will all benefit from additional and upgraded services to and from Melbourne, operated by QantasLink Q400 aircraft.
“The Qantas Group, including Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar, currently operates more than 170 return services per week to ports across Tasmania,” he said.
The news of the increased flights was welcomed by government and industry associations alike.
Tasmania’s Premier, Lara Giddings said the 18 additional services a week was a significant boost in air seats into and out of Tasmania and is welcome news for all of Tasmania.
“That is fantastic news for Tasmania’s tourist operators, for hoteliers and for local businesses,” she said.
“The announcement from Qantas represents a significant investment in its Tasmanian services, and also reflects the growing confidence airlines have in Tasmania as a destination.
Tasmania’s Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon said the Qantas Group continued to be a key airline partner for Tasmania.
“This is a significant announcement that will not only deliver extra flights into our capital city, but will also see a significant increase in the level of access available to regional areas through an upgrade to the aircraft flying between Melbourne and Devonport, and additional flights between Melbourne and Launceston,” he said.
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA)’s General Manager, Steve Old, also applauded the move from Qantas.
“It is wonderful news for the hospitality industry in Tasmania and gives a little more confidence to our industry that things may well improve in the not too distant future.
“It has been an extremely tough 12-18 months for our industry and it is signs like this that will give some encouragement to our members that things may well be on the improve,” he said.
The Accommodation Association of Australia’s (AAA) CEO Richard Munro said the additional seats would provide more options and more convenience for business and holiday travellers to travel to Tasmania, which would in turn provide a much needed boost to the Tasmanian accommodation industry.
“We have seen some accommodation businesses in Tasmania record growth over the recent school holiday periods, so more Qantas flights to further support and encourage growth in Tasmanian occupancy levels are extremely timely and welcome,” he said.
“For other Tasmanian accommodation providers who are struggling with occupancy levels, which have unfortunately been some of the lowest levels in the country, the Association hopes that the increased frequency of flights and more capacity will provide more of an incentive and make it more convenient for travellers from the mainland to visit Tasmania and explore its unique beauty and attractions.”